The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) is in a strong position to systematically monitor and act on diseases in the animal population which can adversely affect local and international trade in livestock or cause serious or even fatal infections in humans.
The capacity upgrade was made possible with the training in Canada of GLDA staffer, Doctor Dr. Randy Storm a Veterinary Epidemiologist. The GLDA recently disclosed that Dr. Storm who has since returned home is slated to head a newly formed Epidemiological Unit within the Authority.
This unit will be dedicated to monitoring and recommending action to be taken to resolve the incidence, distribution, and control of diseases in animals, the eradication of trans-boundary animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease and zoonoses (diseases which can be transmitted to humans from animals.)
In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Dr. Storm said the training he had received earlier this year had been made possible through the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)’s Canada Research and Internship Assistance Program (RIAP).
RIAP, he said, is dedicated to providing avenues for joint research projects and sharing of experiences between Canada and the rest of the Americas and the Caribbean towards fostering sustainable, productive and competitive agriculture in this hemisphere.
Dr. Storm explained: “I did an internship program in the epidemiology and surveillance section of the Animal Health Science Directorate of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).”
He said that there had been a bovine Tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in Alberta, Canada and the officials there had done a large-scale TB Outbreak investigation where they had to do “stamping out of animals” because TB was one of the animal diseases that could affect trade.
“I wanted to see how they conducted their outbreak investigations since we in Guyana are looking to gain access to the export market for livestock and livestock products starting with CARICOM.” According to Dr. Storm, the Epidemiological Unit he is heading will be a sub-unit of the Animal Health Unit of the GLDA.
The unit, made possible through the IICA RIAP program in Canada, will be responsible for all disease prevention control and eradication measures in the ten Administrative Regions and will be the first line of defence against incursions of foreign animal diseases from neighbouring countries.